Music Reviews: Singer-Songwriter

November 17th, 2022

Aimee Mann's 'I'm With Stupid' Offers Up A Set Of Thoughtful Observations

From the archives: Not since Moby Grape has so much talent been victim to dumb circumstance

By: Michael Fremer

(This review originally appeared in Issue 7, Spring 1996.)Not since Moby Grape has so much talent been victim to dumb circumstance. Mann hit it big out of the gate with ‘Til Tuesday’s 1984 hit “Voices Carry.” You’d think two gold records would vindicate her pop musical instincts, but when Mann begin edging away from the drum machine/synth rut she’d dug for herself, towards folkier, acoustic guitar-based music, her label resisted, ultimately killing the group’s third... Read More

October 9th, 2022

Anthony Wilson's "The Plan of Paris" Mixes Jazz, Folk, Blues and Country With Singer/Songwriter Sensitivity

a dark album made for these times

By: Michael Fremer

When Anthony Wilson is not on the road playing jazz guitar, he sometimes steps into a recording booth and exits Clark Kent-like as a sensitive ‘70s era singer/songwriter.For those more accustomed to Wilson backing Diana Krall or leading jazz ensembles on a series of Groove Note releases or providing orchestrations and/or playing on dozens of studio dates (for instance on Paul McCartney’s “Kisses on the Bottom”), his sumptuously packaged, sensitively drawn 2019 Songs... Read More

September 24th, 2022

Classic Records Unearths Sonny Landreth's 'Outward Bound' From the Digital Glaze

From the archives: when it comes to communicating the intent of music, records have it all over CDs

By: Michael Fremer

(This review originally appeared in Issue 5/6, Winter 1995/96.)What a shock to the audiophile system: an all-analog reissue of a CD-only release. When I first reviewed this engaging set back in 1992 I remarked that it sounded like a good recording was buried under the digital glaze, but who could be sure? Did I ever expect to see it issued on AAA vinyl? No. But here it is, courtesy of Classic Records.Sonny Landreth is a killer slide guitarist, electric guitarist,... Read More

September 22nd, 2022

David Blue's "Stories" Tells Mournful Tales Not as Sad as the Singer/Songwriter's Own

Gets an AAA Limited Edition Reissue

By: Michael Fremer

There was a time when you could buy a label's output and be confident you'd made a quality record purchase without hearing the music. Labels that managed this late '60s/early '70's feat included Elektra, Warner Brothers/Reprise, Island and David Geffen's Asylum Records. You could buy with confidence Love's debut, The Doors, Jackson Browne's Saturate Before Using, Traffic's Mr. Fantasy, Cat Stevens' Mona Bone Jakon, for... Read More

September 16th, 2022

'The Ghost Of Tom Joad': Bruce Springsteen's Masterpiece

From the archives: The album Springsteen's been working towards his entire career

By: Tracking Angle

(This review, written by Carl E. Baugher, originally appeared in Issue 5/6, Winter 1995/96.)It’s taken him some 20 years or so but Bruce Springsteen has finally delivered his masterpiece. Make no mistake: he’s done a ton of good work over the years. But, this is the album he’s been working towards his whole career. And there’s not a single rock song on it! Here’s evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt that the lineage which runs through Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan... Read More

September 13th, 2022

Palace Music's 'Viva Last Blues'

From the archives: Will Oldham's third record as Palace Music

By: Michael Fremer

(This review originally appeared in Issue 7, Spring 1996.)The question is, how far are you willing to climb to reach a pure source? Do you want the water as it exits from a fissure in the rocks? Or is a filtered five gallon bottle delivered to your back door good enough for you?Which are you more comfortable with? PJ Harvey? Or Alanis Morissette? Fresh or packaged? What you’ll get here is drawn straight from the pure stream of Will Oldham’s cosmic ether. Oldham is a... Read More